South Seattle Memorial Services

Audience listens to eulogy at memorial service ceremony in cemetery

A memorial service — or a ceremony without casketed remains present — gives you more flexibility in how, when, and where you celebrate. You may hold a larger ceremony with speakers, or focus the celebration around photos of your loved one and special mementos from their life. By getting to know you and learning about your family’s traditions, memories, and preferences, BONNEY WATSON funeral directors will help you design a service that is truly unique.

Why Do Families Choose Memorial Services?

Memorial services, in contrast to funeral services, are ceremonies without casketed remains present. Families choose the type of service they want based upon a number of different factors. Oftentimes, families will opt for a memorial service over another type of ceremony based on: 

  • Timing. Memorial services can take place after the remains have been buried or cremated, so families have more time to plan, organize, and prepare for the ceremony than they would if the casketed remains were to be present.
  • Families that do not observe religious or ethnic traditions that require the casketed remains to be present, often opt for a memorial service as an unchurched alternative to a traditional funeral service.
  • Family tradition, enabling families to uphold long-held traditions and honor life in a way that feels more comfortable and familiar. 

For many families, it is important to have their loved one’s casketed remains present for the service to gain closure and promote healing, enabling them to more effectively accept the reality of death. For others, however, a memorial service or celebration of life feels a more appropriate ceremony for their own personal grieving and healing process.

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Manicured hedges at a cemetery
Elderly man with white hair holds framed photo of his deceased loved one in cemetery


There are many factors that differentiate BONNEY WATSON from other providers in our service area. In addition to being the oldest continuously operating business in Washington, we are one of the few independently owned and operated funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries. We also have the reputation of being the premier funeral services provider and provide a full range of funeral, cremation, and cemetery services from simple disposition to unique and meaningful funeral, memorial, and celebration of life ceremonies.

BONNEY WATSON is the only funeral services provider that offers a written promise to every family, that we will do whatever it takes to serve your family in the most personal way possible. As a family-owned company, we have never been unable to serve a family due to limited resources. If for any reason we are unable to uphold this promise, we will take responsibility for finding someone who can. 

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Questions About Our Memorial Services?

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Seattle Memorial Services – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a funeral or memorial service?

Funerals and memorial services play an important role for those mourning the loss of a loved one. At BONNEY WATSON, we know that by giving surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to share thoughts and feelings about the death, funerals and memorial services serve as a critical step in the healing process.

Regardless of whether your loved one is buried or cremated, the ritual of a funeral or memorial service offers many benefits:

  • Provides a social support system for the bereaved
  • Helps the bereaved understand that death is final and part of life
  • Integrates the bereaved back into the community
  • Eases the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one
  • Provides a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain
  • Reaffirms one’s relationship with the person who died
  • Provides a time to say good-bye
  • Allows the bereaved to begin the healing process
I’ve never arranged a funeral or memorial service before. What do I need to know?

Nearly everyone needs to make or help make funeral arrangements at some point. This will not be an easy time, but we offer these tips for smart planning:

  • Be an informed consumer and ask questions.
  • Choose an independent funeral home like BONNEY WATSON.
  • Make sure your funeral director is properly licensed.
  • Discuss all service and payment options.
  • Make sure you receive a copy of the funeral home’s General Price List. Be prepared; whenever possible, make decisions and organize details in advance of need.
  • Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony to help you and others begin healing.
What happens at a memorial service?

BONNEY WATSON believes every service should be tailored to reflect the unique life of the deceased, and that includes upholding the rituals and traditions they find value in. Creating a unique memorial service means listening to the family and then making thoughtful recommendations based upon honoring the unique life of the deceased. This can be done in a variety of ways, including selecting an appropriate location for the ceremony, deciding on who should participate in the service, and selecting special music.

How much does a memorial service cost?

The full cost of a memorial service depends on a number of factors, including the length, setting, time of day and year of the ceremony. Requested disposition method and other ceremony amenities can also impact the price. For more specific information related to your unique preferences, view our full General Price List.

What options are there for memorial services for veterans?

BONNEY WATSON has had the privilege of serving veterans and their families for generations, and can provide assistance in a variety of ways. In addition to helping families apply for benefits offered to veterans and their families, we can also coordinate memorial and cemetery services that honor their military service. We can assist families who want to be placed at a national cemetery, as well as offering dedicated veteran sections at our Washington Memorial Park cemetery location. Read more about our veteran’s services.

What do funeral directors do?

BONNEY WATSON’s funeral directors are licensed professionals with specific education and training. They:

  • Make arrangements for the funeral or memorial service
  • Help you notify friends and family
  • Secure necessary permits and death certificates
  • Take care of the body
  • Coordinate all details with the clergy
  • Help arrange for burial or cremation
  • Notify your attorney if you need legal help
  • Help secure any benefits to which you may be entitled (such as life insurance)
  • Follow up after the funeral, helping you adjust to your loss
What type of funeral or memorial service should we plan?

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of memorial service or funeral. BONNEY WATSON is well-known for helping families make arrangements that meet their needs and celebrate their memories and culture. Practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the service will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. You may also choose whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and if so, whether the casket will be open or closed, and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.

What is the difference between a memorial service and funeral service?

While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, a memorial service generally means a service without the casketed remains present; on the other hand, a funeral service generally means a service with the casket present.

What is the difference between a memorial service and celebration of life?

A celebration of life is a modern-day phrase used to refer to either a funeral or memorial service by definition, meaning casketed remains can be either present or not. Generally, however, celebrations of life are more casual, personalized, and flexible than both memorial and funeral services as they emphasize the celebration of the loved one’s accomplishments, personality, and passions in a way that is entirely unique to the individual.